Sunday, October 21

Cooper victorious on Sunflower debut\Glenn Irwin donates winnings to William Dunlop family

Buildbase Suzuki rider Richard Cooper yesterday became the 2018 Sunflower trophy winner on his first visit to the event. Cooper led for much of the race but an excursion to the grass midway through saw Tyco’s Michael Laverty take the imitative from Danny Buchan. Cooper rejoined and hunted the pair down before retaking the lead despite the best of efforts of Buchan on the last lap. Following a drag race out of the last hairpin, Cooper won by a slim 0.01 of a second from the Kawasaki of Buchan with Michael Laverty back in 3rd.

Glenn Irwin’s Sunflower winning ways continued as he won the “Junior Sunflower Trophy” after a terrific battle with Jeremy McWilliams. Irwin lead from the start but, the experienced ex-GP racer McWilliams picked his moment and took the lead after 4 laps. Irwin began his fight back immediately and made his move with 3 laps to go. Irwin on the Burrows Engineering Supertwin never looked back and never gave an inch in the run to the line, not giving McWilliams on the Ryan Farquhar KMR Kawasaki any gap to exploit. Glenn Irwin went 1 better though, by donating his prize money to the family of the late William Dunlop, a feat matched by his sponsors amounting to £4000 in total. 3rd place went to British Junior Supersport champion Eunan McGlinchey who could only look on in the hope that a mistake was made but, the opportunity never materialised. However, McGlinchey did leave the circuit with a new Supertwin lap record of an incredible 1.10.2.

Supersport race wins went to Robert Kennedy in race 1 and 2 with impressive podium places going to Richard Kerr, Aaron Clifford and Jason Lynn. In the USBK championship, Gerard Kinhgan claimed the title with his successful run of results.

In the pre-injection races, Johnny Aiken won race 1 from Johnny Irwin and Jonathan Gregory. While in Race 2 Kevin McGrath took 2nd place.

Attendance in sunny warm weather was at full capacity as many came to witness the end of the 2018 Short Circuit season at the Bishopscourt track and spectators were treated to a full programme of exciting racing.

Full results available on Speedhive

Words and images – Andy Quinn

Friday, October 19

Scene set for Star Studded Sunflower

The scene is set for the 41st Sunflower Trophy race meeting at the County Down Bishopscourt circuit, which takes place Friday and Saturday 19th & 20th October.

Six times a winner of this prestigious end of season feature race, TYCO BMWs Michael Laverty will be aiming to win the Trophy for the 7th time. The 37-year-old spearheads the Moneymore team’s bid for victory at Ireland’s premier short circuit meeting near Downpatrick, although fellow British Superbike rider Christian Iddon is set to miss out. The Toome rider will face stiff opposition from twice winner Danny Buchan, who switches from his normal FS3 Kawasaki to a MSS Kawasaki, and newcomer Buildbases Suzuki rider, Richard Cooper.  Nottingham rider, Cooper is on a roll at the moment. 2wo weeks ago, he was the winner of the end of season meeting at Darley Moor, he followed this up with a dominating win at the final round of a wet BSB meeting at Brands Hatch, in what he described as his final race in the BSB series.

Top road racer, Bradford’s Dean Harrison, on board the Silicone Kawasaki is also making his Bishopscourt debut.  A winner at the Isle of Man TT and Classic TT, Harrison has been competing on the BSB scene at the start and end of the season, in order to keep at the sharp end for his road race preparation. Other notable visiting riders include Paul McClung and Tom Fisher.

Conspicuously missing from the race scene for the past few months is Lisburn rider Carl Philips, a podium finisher at this event last year, Philips has been handed a lifeline for this event by Roofing contractor, Jason McGaw, which will see Philips ride an ex Ryan Farquhar KMR Superbike.
Inaugural USBK Superbike Champion, Randalstown rider Gerard Kinghan has the ability to mix with the best, albeit, his machine may not have the punch required to match the factory bikes.  Ali Kirk, who has won the last three USBK Superbike races also can run up front.

The Supertwin race boasts a top-quality entry, and for this year, the second race will be known as the “Junior Sunflower Trophy”. Along with our own USBK Champion Gary McCoy, Glenn Irwin will be on board John Burrows Kawasaki. Jeremey McWilliams also returns on the KMR Kawasaki. Newly crowned British Champion Eunan McGlinchey will be on board the McAdoo Racing Kawasaki. Robert Kennedy will bring the beautiful sounding Paton, thanks to Dave Cloverdale and Ian Lougher of ILR, and Scotlands Paul McClung, a double winner in this class here two years ago, on his debut. Irwin also announced that any prize money he wins, he will donate to Janine, partner to the late William Dunlop.

Darryl Tweed will ride the Trision McMullan Joinery Suzuki.

Jason Lynn heads the 600-entry list, along with Mark Conlin and Christain Elkin. Making their first appearances on home soil this year will be, Aaron Clifford, Robert Kennedy and Richard Kerr, each of whom have been contesting the British Championships this season. Newcomers Milo Ward, Ben Luxton and Dominic Herbertson are also entered.

McWilliams makes his Moto 3 debut when he lines up alongside Irish road and short circuit Champion Paul Robinson, who will be looking to go out with a win, as the Ballymoney rider is retiring after this event. Gary Dunlop makes a race short circuit appearance along with Connall Courtney and Melissa Kennedy. On board 125 machines The Cairns Twins will be in action, along with Andrew Smyth, but watch out for newcomer to this class, 13-year-old Jamie Lyons, and from Sweden we have Anders Larrson making his Bishopscourt debut.

The sidecars have always played a major part of the Sunflower event, and this year there is quite a lot of visiting drivers, including Simon Robinson, Michael Kirkup, Sam Christie and Gordon Shand but to name a few, add in our own drivers and passengers, The Lynch brothers, Dylan and Derek, Terry O Reilly, Mark Codd, Peter O Neil, Tommy Fitzsimmons, Fergus Woodlock, and Hillsborough Club Member, Seamus “Scooby” Killough, and we have the ingredients for an exciting sidecar encounter.

Practice starts this morning at 9.15am, with a five-race programme scheduled for after lunchtime including the first clash of the Giants in the opening Superbike race. The main race bill, including the prestigious Sunflower race, will be held tomorrow (Saturday.)

Admission is £15 on Friday and £20 on Saturday. A weekend pass costs £25. Children under 15 free.

Hillsborough MCC PRO
Baylon McCaughey

Images Glynne Lewis, James McCann, Andy Quinn

Wednesday, October 17

Jeremy McWilliams added to Sunflower entry

McWilliams returns to the Sunflower Trophy Meeting.

Age is no barrier for globetrotter Jeremy McWilliams, who will team up with Ryan Farquhar’s KMR Team for the end of season Sunflower Trophy races. A past winner at this event, McWilliams will compete in the Supertwins and make his Moto 3 debut on machines supplied by former road racer Ryan Farquhar.

In recent years, Jeremy has participated in various events on KMR bikes, and has proven that despite his age, he can still run with the best. A regular front runner at Classic events, the former Grand Prix competitor is well known for his development work on racing motorcycles and is a past winner at the Sunflower event in the Supertwins on KMR machinery.

He will be joined this weekend by Canadian Darren James, who will ride in the Supertwin class, which already boasts an excellent entry including, newly crowned British Champion Eunan McGlinchy (McAdoo Kawasaki), Glenn Irwin (Burrows Engineering Kawasaki), Robert Kennedy (Cloverdale/ILR Paton), Paul McClung, a double winner here two year ago and recently crowned USBK Supertwin Champion, Gary McCoy.

Speaking to Farquahar ahead of the event: “For me today (Wednesday) and the weekend is more about testing new parts for next season. Had loads of things for Derek to test after the UGP, but due to his injuries, Derek wanted to concentrate on getting fit for2019 so there’s no doubting Jeremys ability to test things. From a team point of view, it’s all about next year’s NW and TT. Darren James didn’t get much track time at the NW so he’s back to get a spin out and try and put his misfortune behind him.”

 Jeremy McWilliams;
“Just arrived back from Portimao, I’m riding a twin and moto 3. First time on a moto 3 bike so that’ll be interesting. Ryan been busy with some new things to test today (Wednesday) on the twins and make a decision depending on what we prefer to race on Saturday. No superbike for me, the twin race looks like a good line up so looking forward to see how Ryan’s bikes have developed since I rode the NW.”

Tuesday, October 16

Michael Laverty lines up another Sunflower title shot

Laverty aiming for Sunflower Trophy win number 7

Six times a winner of the Sunflower Trophy Races Michael Laverty will be the sole representative for the TYCO BMW team at this weekend’s Sunflower Trophy races at Bishopscourt.
Laverty who joined the TYCO team prior this event last year is aiming to reclaim this Sunflower Trophy for the 7th time. Last year, Laverty finished a close second to winner Glenn Irwin, who unfortunately won’t be lining up on the Superbike grid this year.

The Toome rider will line up alongside Buildbase rider, Richard Cooper and FS3 Kawasaki rider Danny Buchan, Isle of man TT winner, Dean Harrison, David Haire, Carl Philips and our own USBK Champion Gerard Kinghan for the 41st Sunflower Trophy race.
Bichopscourt lap record holder and team mate to Laverty in the TYCO squad, former Supermoto champion Christain Iddon was hoping to compete, but after Two crashes at Brands hatch last weekend, he has been ruled out on medical grounds.

Michael Laverty;
"I’m looking forward to coming home for the Sunflower trophy races, it’s always a great event and an enjoyable way to round out the season. The competition will be tough especially with BSB riders Danny Buchan and Richard Cooper also on the grid, I will give it my best to try and etch my name on the trophy for the 7th time. Bishopscourt is a great venue, the improvements to the circuit really impressed me last year so thanks to Philip and Hector Neill plus the Hillsborough club who have made it possible for me to race there once again.”

Monday, October 15

Glenn Irwin to defend Sunflower Supertwin lap record

In a rather unexpected move, BSB star Glenn Irwin will compete in this weekend’s Sunflower Trophy races, but not on the Superbike as everyone expected, but in the Supertwins class, where he is the Bishopscourt lap record holder for this class.

His bike is being prepared for the Macau GP, where it will be ridden by John McGuinness, this leaving the Lisburn rider without a bike for the Sunflower Trophy races, a Trophy he has won for the past two years. John Burrows then offered Glenn the use of his Kawasaki ER6, on which Irwin holds the Bishopscourt circuit Supertwin lap record. The Supertwin race also includes fellow competitors on one off rides in this class.

Robert Kennedy who has put in some impressive results in the past at this event in the Supertwin class, will ride Dave Cloverdales/ILR Paton, joining these riders will be Newly crowned British Champion, the hotshot of Irish circuit racing, Eunan McGlinchy as he  gets his chance to prove his worth on the McAdoo racing Kawasaki, and we cannot discount Scotland’s Paul McClung, who made his debut here two years ago, winning both Supertwin races and lapping just under Glenn Irwin’s lap record. Recently crowned Irish Supertwin Champion, Gary McCoy will line up alongside Denver Robb and Cahal Graham.

Glenn Irwin “With permission from PBM, I’m really looking to racing at Bishopscourt this weekend and although I won’t be riding in the Sunflower race, I’m teaming up with John Burrows again for the Supertwins races.

“I’d love to have been able to try and win the Sunflower Trophy for a third year, but it’s just not possible this year. Martin Jessopp and John McGuinness will be testing the bikes before they go to the Macau Grand Prix and it’s now their time to ride the bike and prepare for Macau.
“I completely understand that and I’d want to be getting a ride on the bike for the first time as well before going to a road race, and it’s more important that they have the chance to do that.”

More BSB podium success for Korie McGreevy

Ballynahinch rider Korie McGreevy took another podium finish, his third from four starts at the 2018 Pirelli National Superstock  600 Championship with Black Horse at a damp final round at Brands Hatch Circuit.

Having being black flagged for an oil leak during practice, Korie was penalised for this misendamour, and dropped to second to 5th on the grid. A good start saw McGreevey on his IMR Triumph jump into third place, which he maintained for most of the race. Towards the end, he managed to get ahead of his rival, Kevin Keyes to end his foray into the British Championship in fine style by taking second behind the victorious Ryan Vickers, who has dominated this class throughout the season.

Korie contested four rounds of the championship, scored a fine win at Knockhill, took second at Brands Hatch, third at Silverstone and crashed out at Snetterton.
Korie will now prepare for his final race of the  season, the Sunflower Trophy Race meeting, which takes place this Friday and Saturday at his local race circuit, Bishopscourt .

Korie is also in negotiations with view to getting a Superbike ride for this meeting.

Korie would like to thank all 2018 Sponsors for making this happen, and giving him the chance to prove he has what it takes.

Century Racing, IMR Racing, CJ Photography, Ernie Coates Motorcycles, Strada 7, Belfast Land Rover Centre, IMC, Kirsten, Kia, Enlightened Promotions, Adam Wilson, ML Design, Alan Carter, Graham Family, Alex Knowles, Daryl Heverin, Triumph Aberdeen-Shirlaws Motorcycles, and Bashford Family.
Special Thanks to Peter Van Dijk for his Support in Kories  BSB Campaign

Krystle Black

Enlightened Promotions

Image courtesy of Baylon McGaughey

Sunday, October 14

Harrison Fords way to Sunflower Star Wars

Isle of Man TT and Ulster Grand Prix Superbike lap record holder, Dean Harrison (Silicone Kawasaki)  is the latest rider to sign up for this weekend’s Sunflower Trophy race meeting at Bishopscourt.

Harrison, who also was victorious in the Classic TT Superbike class, has been taking in  the end of season BSB meetings in order to keep at the sharp end ,and is looking forward to making his debut at the Sunflower Trophy Race meeting.

The 29 year old Bradford rider, who has resigned for the Silicone team for 2019, will compete in the Superbike class. Harrison made his Irish debut back in 2010, when he competed in the Support classes on the roads for local race team, McKinstry Racing.
The Sunflower Trophy race meeting which takes place on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th October also incorporates the final round of the 2018 USBK Championships.

Darren Cooper to ride at the Sunflower

Team NW Racing will finish off the 2018 season at the Sunflower Trophy on Friday/Saturday 19/20th October at the Bishopscourt Circuit. This will be Darren’s first outing at the popular Co. Down course, and while he has concentrated on the road races this year, Darren was out recently at the BSB round at Oulton Park on his 600 Kawasaki. He qualified well, and while he got a great start in race one, a problem with the regulator saw him slip down the field, and he finished in 22nd.
In the second race which was wet, he had tyre problems and suffered from a lack of grip, and had a few hairy moments. Despite this he ended up 21st in the race. Darren will race the NW Racing BMW 1000, as well as his 600 and 650 Kawasaki’s over the two day season finale meeting.

Noel Williamson; “We are delighted with the season that we have had, and it will be great to get out with the big boys for a season finale. It will be good for the team and for our rider Darren Cooper, and while this will be a new circuit to him, he has a great approach when learning new circuits. The Sunflower is always a great meeting, and a well supported one as well. I would like to thank everyone who have supported the team this season, and hopefully we will have a good weekend”

Darren Cooper; “I am looking forward to rounding off the season, where I will be riding the three bikes which will keep me and the team busy. I appreciate the organisers for making the event happen, and hopefully it will be a fitting finale to the season. I have had a fantastic year and I can’t thank Noel and Stanley for all the work that they have put in for me”

“Hopefully the weather will be good to us and the fans will turn up to make the meeting a memorable one. I would also like to thank all the Irish fans for making me so welcome at the various events during the year, and I look forward to returning next season”

Jack Corry

Friday, October 12

Sunflower debut for Buildbase Suzuki Richard Cooper

Heading for his Sunflower Trophy races debut is 35-year-old Hawk Racing Buildbase Suzuki rider Richard Cooper.
The Nottingham rider was in great form at the recent BSB meeting at Assen in Holland, where in the second race he finished 5th, just two seconds behind current Sunflower Trophy Holder Glenn Irwin (PBM Be Wiser Ducati).
Cooper currently lies joint 13th in the ultra-competitive BSB Championship, just 8 points behind Michael Laverty (TYCO BMW).
Now in his 19th season, Cooper was the BMW Boxer Champion in 2005, and British Superstock champion in 2011.

Hawk Racing Buildbase Suzuki, under the guidance of Stuart Hicken are no strangers to this event, but are still looking for their first win at this popular end of season event . Richard Cooper has tried to get to the Sunflower on various occasions, but events he was contracted to often clashed with the Sunflower meeting, and this year is the first time his diary is free.
Richard Cooper; “The bikes are good enough and I’m good enough, so no reason why we cannot have a good go at it this year”
Buildbase Suzuki will be bringing another, yet unnamed rider to the Sunflower.
Image credit - Glynne Lewis

Wednesday, October 10

Sunflower beckons for past winner Danny Buchan

The ever popular Danny Buchan, twice winner of the Sunflower Trophy, is relishing a return to the County Down circuit, with view to reclaiming the Trophy he has previously won.
Buchan has competed at the Sunflower in recent years on Superstock machinery, but for this year’s event, Buchan will compete on the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki Superbike. Annoyed at missing out in the BSB Showdown, the Basildon rider is aiming to end his season on a high.
Two podium finishes at Knockhill prove that his and the team are competitive, as he was in the running for the showdown, until a practice spill at Oulton Park put him out of that meeting, and valuable  points were lost. Heading to the final round this weekend at Brands Hatch, Buchan is currently lying in 10th place.
Buchan fired the warning shots in the opening Superbike race at the Sunflower Trophy race meeting last year when he beat pre-race favourites, Glenn Irwin and Michael Laverty. In the Feature race, he had to settle for fourth spot, just losing out to Carl Philips. If he can take the covert win this year, he will get to keep the Trophy, first given to Scot Brian Morrisson, when he won the event three times.

Photo Credits to Glynne Lewis\Andy Quinn